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Brent Toderian

City Planner + Urbanist, TODERIAN UrbanWORKS, Former Vancouver Chief Planner

Brent Toderian is a nationally & internationally-known practitioner with over 20 years of experience in advanced urbanism, city planning and design. He launched his new consultancy, TODERIAN UrbanWORKS, following 6 years of significant achievement as Vancouver Canada’s Chief Planner (2006-2012).

Brent also played a peer advisor role with many global cities, from Copenhagen and Rotterdam, to Singapore and Shanghai. Previously in his career he was in charge of planning + design for downtown Calgary, Canada, and an award-winning consultant in cities from Toronto to

A passionate practitioner and advocate for creative city-building, urban design and architecture, Brent is the founding + current President of the Council for Canadian Urbanism (CanU), a writer/blogger for Planetizen, SPACING, and Atlantic Cities, a
regular Columnist regarding City-Making on CBC Radio 1, and a sought-after global speaker on creativity and innovation in cities. He writes, teaches and collaborates internationally on issues of advanced urbanism.
In Praise Of The Upright

In Praise Of The Upright Bike

There are many other policy implications that come with the spread of slower, safer city bikes -- here in B.C., a big one is around mandatory helmet laws. Many such laws were passed at a time when fast, forward-leaning cycling was the norm, and safe bike infrastructure was virtually non-existent. When drifting along at a walking pace, in an upright position, on a dedicated cycle track, the notion of legally requiring head protection certainly changes.
09/16/2014 04:57 EDT
What Garages Have To Do With Speeding In Your

What Garages Have To Do With Speeding In Your 'Hood

What do garages have to do with speeding? In suburbs all over North America, front garages are causing ripple effects that change the design and nature of our neighbourhoods in many ways that we don't initially realize.
01/03/2014 07:09 EST
Tear Down Those Viaducts,

Tear Down Those Viaducts, Vancouver

Ultimately this powerful decision isn't about cars or concrete. It's about making a more connected, sustainable, resilient downtown and city. New and better public spaces; social and affordable housing; mixed-use, walkable and transit-supported development; and a better connected city and waterfront with a healed "scar" where the viaducts used to be -- whether you're motivated by place-making, a greener and healthier city, or smart economics, the opportunities are significant.
06/26/2013 11:20 EDT
Moving On From Gentrification to 'Shared

Moving On From Gentrification to 'Shared Neighborhoods'

It's hard to have a conversation about gentrification, with all the baggage around the word. As long as many argue that any level of gentrification is to be absolutely avoided, positive and responsible change remains virtually impossible. Recently urbanist Richard Florida joined others in suggesting we need a new word to replace gentrification, asking "if all economic development and neighbourhood revitalization is gentrification, how do we grow and improve our urban areas?"
05/22/2013 08:13 EDT
The Most Important Urban Design Decision Vancouver Ever

The Most Important Urban Design Decision Vancouver Ever Made?

Last weekend at a book launch party, our host began the evening by asking each party-goer to answer a fun and provocative question: "Tell us an urban design decision that you love." For a group of city-making wonks like us, it was an even better icebreaker than the wine.
03/02/2013 11:36 EST
Re-defining the D-Word: 'Density Done Well' in

Re-defining the D-Word: 'Density Done Well' in Vancouver

Density can be the most controversial aspect of how cities and communities are planned. But smart and successful cities worldwide are now tackling "the D-Word" head on, and looking to model cities who have learned how to do density well, often with the scars to show for it. Vancouver is such a city.
02/24/2013 02:39 EST
How Your New Year's Resolutions Can Make Your City

How Your New Year's Resolutions Can Make Your City Better

At this time of year, most of us are thinking hard about New Year's resolutions to make our personal, family and professional lives better. But before we finalize the list of losing weight, balancing our household finances, or cleaning out that back closet, what if we picked a few that could improve our lives, while ALSO improving our cities, towns and communities?
01/03/2013 06:10 EST
Frightful Winter Weather Doesn't Scare Walkable

Frightful Winter Weather Doesn't Scare Walkable Cities

What last week illustrated is that even Vancouver — not really a winter city in the common use of that title — needs to think more about our ability to handle tougher winter conditions. With the weather being less predictable, and frequency and intensity of storm events getting worse with the consequences of climate change, anticipating and designing for unusual weather conditions is going to be the new normal for all of us.
12/25/2012 01:29 EST
Does Your Neighbourhood Pass 'Trick-Or-Treat'

Does Your Neighbourhood Pass 'Trick-Or-Treat' Test?

On top of loving to dress up each year, Halloween is my favourite holiday because it's the most dependent on how we design and build our communities. In city planning and design, there's an old saying about the "Trick-or-Treat Test." It's often brought up in the context in suburban home design: Can kids easily find the front door to your house, or must they poke behind the huge multi-car garage, past the parking asphalt, to ring your bell?
10/25/2012 12:54 EDT
Not Matter Of Bikes vs.

Not Matter Of Bikes vs. Cars

There's too much pitting of self-described "drivers" and "cyclists" against each other. Most North American families are actually multi-modal - they drive, walk, and probably take transit and bike in at least certain circumstances, if not routinely. Certainly many who cycle, also drive, and visa versa. We need a more sophisticated discussion about how we get around in cities, and it starts with this -- it's not about loving your bike. It's about loving what biking does for cities.
10/05/2012 01:54 EDT
Want Families Downtown? Design for

Want Families Downtown? Design for Them!

The truth is that many downtowns are currently not great places to raise families, because they aren't designed to be. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. A city and building industry gives up on kids downtown, so no one designs and plans for them. No schools. Little daycare. No playgrounds, facilities or basic public environment to make downtown kid or teenager-friendly. Most importantly, no homes built to actually fit a family. Perhaps a couple, but as soon as baby comes, they start planning the move. This perpetuates the myth that families would never want to live downtown.
09/07/2012 06:43 EDT